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The week of January 5, 2009
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Katie must have magical DNA. She saved her sister Margo with a liver transplant a few years ago, and now she's going to save Johnny with a bone marrow transplant. Craig, the way things are going, you may want to make nice with your little sis, pronto.

Missing: The Snyders, the Hughes', the Stewarts and the other residents of Oakdale
Last seen: Christmas week, before a bevy of new faces took over the town

It's no secret that I endorse change the way that Hitler endorsed diversity. That said, I don't mind new faces or characters cropping up in Oakdale from time to time. Done correctly, they can infuse new energy, bring fresh stories, and complicate the lives of already established characters. However, it's never - I repeat, NEVER - a good idea to recast four key characters simultaneously (Lucy, Maddie, Craig, and Jade), when there are already plenty of fairly "new" faces floating about town. (Brian, Derek, Josie, I'm talking about you.)

Frankly, I'm shocked that the show honchos would even attempt to introduce so many new faces at once. It was enough to have Craig back, but adding Lucy, Maddie and Jade was complete overkill. I'm pretty sure that many of you aren't going to care about any of these newbies, because you're not invested in them anymore, and why should you be? The girl running around claiming to be Maddie has none of the traces of the character we loved. Maddie 2.0 is a needy boring mess, pathetically throwing herself at a guy who is clearly not interested. And Lucy, well, she's dull as dishwater and about as believable as a doctor as I am. (Sigh...)Where is Lucy, the spitfire, who oozed chemistry with Dusty and everyone else?

Of the three new ladies, Jade seems to be the only one to exhibit the traits of her former character, and actress Davida Williams is making some interesting choices that make me pay attention. Jade has potential, if written correctly, but I fear she'll be lumped in with the other newbies and not given a fair shake. As for Craig, Jon Lindstrom is reeling me in with every word. He gets Craig. I just hope this time around, the writers will, too. There is one lesson, though, that needs to be learned here: too much change at once is NOT a good idea, if you want to keep your audience. Call us old-fashioned, but it's those familiar faces that make us tune in, not a bunch of new kids on the block.

And what's more -- two of the new Oakdale faces have already been let go! click here to read Soap Central's news coverage of that.

--Paul's visions are back. Can I get a "Woo HOO?" I love psychic Paul, as opposed to psycho Paul. (Hey, it's not my fault those have been our only choices this year.)

--Emily, can you please pass on your copy of "He's Just Not That Into You" to Maddie and then Lucinda? Thanks.

--Katie must have magical DNA. She saved her sister Margo with a liver transplant a few years ago, and now she's going to save Johnny with a bone marrow transplant. Craig, the way things are going, you may want to make nice with your little sis, pronto.

--Happy 16th birthday Parker Munson Snyder! It seems like just a few years ago you were playing cowboys with "Uncle Craig" and now you're making out with your girlfriend in the backseat of a car. Oh, how time flies, especially when you're a child on daytime. Sage, you've been warned.

--I'm loving Craig and Carly. They have oodles of chemistry, can match each other quip for quip, and their friendship will drive Jack totally mad. Bring it! If anyone in town can understand what it's like to make mistakes and ask for forgiveness, it's Carly. Here's hoping these two commiserate about their past mistakes more frequently at Metro.

--I applaud the fact that ATWT is giving characters of color some storylines, but why is the focus on Derek and not poor Dallas, who has been simmering on the back burner so long that I sometimes forget he's even in the kitchen?

--For the completely shallow comment of the week, Luke looked smoking hot on New Year's Eve. Yowza! Noah must be blind or straight to have ditched Luke to comfort Maddie.

--Can someone please explain to me why Craig is supposedly such a horrible father, not worthy of even seeing his own son, but no one is lobbying to remove crazy, homicidal Paul from his child's life? Paul is much nuttier than Craig ever was, but I don't see anyone kidnapping Eliza to keep her away from Paul. Or why is it that Dusty can be abusive to women, scare little kids, and bully anyone who doesn't agree with him, but still be lauded as a great guy and father? I know Craig screwed up with the kidnapping scheme for Lucy, but I don't think he's as awful as the entire town has made him out to be. And he's Johnny's biological father, NOT Dusty. So, call me crazy Scoopers, but I think Craig deserves a chance to be with his son. (And before you send me the hate mail, no I don't agree with the fact that he gave Parker the keys to his car, but still, Paul consistently tries to kill people. Hello!)

--Note to Luke: It's not cool to hit on your grandmother's new husband, no matter how drunk you are or how sexually confused he is. NOT cool.

--I guess Margo and Tom had a happy new year. We wouldn't know of course, since all we heard of it was Casey telling us he was supposed to meet them for dinner, as he rolled around naked in Alison's bed.

--Dusty is impressive. He got the Lakeview clerk not only to tell him that Lucy wasn't registered there, but that Craig was and Alison, too. The last time I checked, hotel clerks won't tell you anything about registered guests. The ice machine, sure. But not registered guests.

--Call me nuts, but I can't help but think that Henry and Katie's story isn't finished. This week when he mentioned his failed marriage in a conversation with Maddie, it dawned on me that Katie and Henry could be a fantastic storyline to revisit. The writers could toy with the possibility of Katie being the real reason Henry can't commit, despite claims that he loves Vienna.

--As a writer myself, I apparently need to move to Oakdale, where aspiring authors can not only get their work read, without the submission from a literary agent, but can also get published and make the best-seller list within a matter of weeks. I had to chuckle when Henry met with an editor from Simon and Schuster who wanted to publish his novel. My experience has been that the big publishing companies seldom accept unsolicited manuscripts without an agent. Help me, Henry. I'm sitting on a best seller here, if I could only get someone to read it. Maybe I need to take a clue from Vienna, put on my hottest dress, march into a publishing company, and demand that someone read it... Maybe not; that only works on television. In the real world, security would be escorting me to the door.

--OK, Scoopers, help me out here. Did Meg and Dusty go to high school together, as they discussed this week? I recall the storyline with him and Lily in school together, when Brian Bloom played Dusty, but I don't recall Meg in the picture. I, along with several other readers, am confused.

--I saw the signs a few weeks ago that were pointing toward a potential Casey and Alison romance, but I have to say I didn't expect them to end up in bed together so quickly. Casey's overt flirting paid off, I guess. Thankfully, Ali put the brakes on though. I hope she thinks through the consequences of bedding her sister's ex, again.

--Funniest use of history: During a parking make out session near the woods when Liberty joked that she felt like she was in a slasher movie, Parker commented that indeed a few years ago there was a slasher in the woods that killed people.

--There is one thing on soaps I find unacceptable: rewriting history to fit a plot. Believe me, there are plenty of past storylines I'd like to erase (Simon stealing jewels, anyone?) but the reality is that once it hits the screen, it's a part of ATWT history. So, I'm spitting mad that once again Craig Montgomery is being blamed for the death of his son Bryant, to make Craig look more evil than he is. I thought with this new version of Craig that the show would stop blaming him for something that wasn't his fault. But, no. Last week, several characters flung that insult at him, and I had to refrain from firing off an angry letter to CBS. Writers, if you weren't on staff during this era then I'm begging, please, pick up the history book of the show and read the transcripts. If you're too lazy to do that, then here's a brief rundown of what happened, so I hopefully, never, ever, ever have to hear this piece of absolute ridiculousness spewed again. The night Bryant died, he caught his girlfriend Jennifer Munson sleeping with his best friend and cousin Billy. He became agitated, obviously, and tried to call his dad to talk. Craig wasn't home, so Bryant left a message on his machine and then got in his car without buckling his seatbelt. He was emotional and began speeding and crashed his car, resulting in his death. The only thing Craig was guilty of that night was not being home. Prior to that, he had been a good father to Bryant. They did have a fight over Bryant's trust fund that Craig had embezzled money from, but they were close. Craig was not responsible for Bryant's death. I am so sick of repeating this fact, I could scream. Please writers, stop making up history.

As we look ahead to 2009, here are some ideas of what could happen. Please put on your sarcasm and sense of humor hats:
--Barbara refuses to work with an "unstable" Paul, so he gets a job at the Psychic Friends Network to pay the bills.
--Bonnie gets some new law clients, so she can afford to go shopping and finally retire that red dress that she wears almost every day.
--Casey realizes that his career as a janitor is not for him and embraces his one obvious talent. He becomes a gigolo and sets his sights on the one Stewart woman he hasn't yet seduced: Susan.
--Lucinda finally gets some loving from a man she doesn't have to beg to take her to bed, when John Dixon returns to town to see Dusty. She files for divorce from Brian citing "fraud" instead of irreconcilable differences, and gets some makeover tips from Luke on how to be more attractive to men.
--Luke joins a local dating service and realizes that there are plenty of gay men in the fashion industry that work for Barbara Ryan, but we just never see them.
--After failing nursing school, Alison colors her hair once again and realizes her real talent is in hair styling. She opens a salon and convinces Dusty to get a shave, haircut and color.

Best Lines of the Week:
(Craig proves he's a "Three's Company" fan, while trying to convince Carly to drive to the farm and deliver Christmas gifts.)
Craig: "Don't you want to crash Jack and Chrissy's Christmas?"
Carly: "It's Janet."
Craig: "I've always been partial to blondes."

(Craig shows up at Carly's door.)
Carly: "What part of 'go away' consistently confuses you?"
Craig: "The part where I'm supposed to believe you mean it."

(Craig sees Alison again with her needle, after he ran into her earlier taking residents' blood samples.)
Craig: "Vampira, still out for blood?"

Reader Spotlight:
(From Two Scoops reader Opal.)
It's Christmas Eve afternoon and I was eager for the annual ATWT Christmas message, delivered by Dr. Bob. Where was the Hughes family? I am so disappointed.

(From Two Scoops reader Connie.)
I just wanted to comment on a couple things about this year's show. First, is there some new rule about how long a story can take to unfold and play out? Is it two weeks or less? All these stories seem so unrelated and disjointed compared to the baby swap story (Jen & Gwen's babies) of a couple years ago. I'd compare the show lately to a book of short stories written by different authors. It's jarring, sometimes. Also, I'm not going to get too attached to any new or recast character. More than likely, they'll disappear as quickly as they blew into town. Finally, I want to say it's hard to imagine any group of actors with more talent than the ones we see on As the World Turns. With Michael Park and Maura West leading the way, they're all terrific.

(From Two Scoops reader Marie.)
Forget "How many times can somebody try to kill Paul?" My question is has Meg found a new career as a suitcase packer? How many times can she pack up and move out in one year?

That's all for now. Happy New Year Scoopers! See ya next time.
Jennifer Biller

Jennifer Biller
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Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of Soap Central or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen and what has happened, and to share their opinions on all of it. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same point of view.

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